#MissionMonday with our Dream Big Co-Chairs

Nathan Harris and Kirby Jett Harris have a passion for helping, especially when children are the mission. They have worked tirelessly to plan, create and implement our Dream Big Charity Gala for over four years now, serving in various roles on the committee. This year they went a step further by becoming the 2018 Co-Chairs of our 11th annual Dream Big Charity Gala.

Below is an open letter that Nathan and Kirby wrote on why they volunteer and why it’s so important that the community help these children by attending the gala. Tickets are still available and can be purchased HERE

(letter written for the event program)

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping’”

-Mr. Rogers

Welcome to the 2018 Dream Big Charity Gala!  Your participation in tonight’s event is an extraordinary investment in the work of the Children’s Safety Center’s programs and dedicated staff and, most importantly, in the lives of the children they serve.

Thanks to generous organizations and individuals like you, all of the Children’s Safety Center’s services are FREE OF CHARGE to every client, every time. That means whether a family comes to the center once for their initial investigation of abuse, or every week for years of mental health therapy, cost will never get in the way of the healing services they need. You make it possible for children and families to get the vital support and resources they need to heal from child physical and sexual abuse.

As the Dream Big Charity Gala continues to grow, so has the need for the services provided by the CSC.  In 2017, the center saw 679 new cases of abuse, just in Washington County.  That’s one child every 13 hours!  Through the first 6 months of 2018, new cases opened at the CSC are up almost 30% over last year.  At an average cost of $1,600 per client, the center relies heavily on private donations to provide these services, and nearly 25% of that support comes from the community of individuals who participate in tonight’s gala.

Tonight, you will see lots of tiny handprints placed around the Fayetteville Town Center.  These handprints are no different than our own at some point in our lives, or even of our own children’s.  While these handprints have no name, they all have a story to be told.  Each of these children has big dreams and a renewed hope for the future because of the support they received from the Children’s Safety Center.

As Co-Chairmen of the Dream Big Charity Gala, we would like to thank all of the committee members, volunteers, and staff who have worked tirelessly to bring this event to life.  These people continue to amaze and encourage us with their dedication and passion for the work of the CSC.

On Behalf of the Children’s Safety Center, we would like to thank you for your attendance and generous support of the 11th Annual Dream Big Charity Gala!  All of the funds raised tonight will go directly to the local support of children in our community.  The return on your investment is extraordinary – protecting our children, helping them heal, and allowing them to DREAM BIG!

Sincerely,

Nathan Harris – United Bank, and Kirby Jett Harris – Truity Credit Union

2018 Dream Big Gala Co-Chairs


#SupporterSaturday with Catering Unlimited

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. All across Northwest Arkansas you will see signs and pinwheels displayed to raise awareness of child abuse happening in our community and ways to help like calling the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline number, 844-SAVE-A-CHILD, if you suspect abuse.

On this Supporter Saturday we’d like to highlight a local business that has been a partner of the Children’s Safety Center for several years: Catering Unlimited.

 

How did you become involved with the Children’s Safety Center?

Our company is very family oriented as most of our employees have children, so the CSC’s mission really hits home with us. Not to mention the center is right next door to us here in downtown Springdale, so it only seems right to support our neighbors, especially those that do so much good!

 

Why do you continue to stay involved?

We stay involved truly for the children of Washington County. The thought of any harm coming to our families, neighbors, or friends is heart wrenching and we love that the center offers a safe haven for those who need it. As a community, we understand that we have to help when we can and stick together to have a real impact!

 

Why is it important to spread the mission of the CSC to the community?

We think it’s so vital to spread the mission of CSC here because we have an obligation to stand up for those who can’t do it for themselves. We think our community shares a common goal of doing the most good and we think that the safety center does just that!

 

Fun fact about Catering Unlimited that people might not know?

Fun Facts!  As a Springdale native, our owner Mark has lived here all of his life and started Catering Unlimited in 2001. As our name states, our menus are truly Unlimited–nothing is off the table! Each event we cater is infused with the hard work and dedication of our veteran staff, so a lot of our clients assume that our company is very small when in reality we serve nearly 4,000 meals per week to our clients and friends all over Northwest Arkansas.

 

Thank You Catering Unlimited for ALL you do for the Children’s Safety Center, our mission, and the children we serve.

Check out Catering Unlimited’s Website


#SpotlightSunday Partners + Prevention

Last month, the Children’s Safety Center hosted Partners + Prevention, a lunch fundraiser benefiting the mission of the CSC. As a member of Kappa Delta sorority, (a partner of the Children’s Safety Center), I had the chance to attend to do a piece on the event and even talk to the First Lady of Arkansas, Mrs. Susan Hutchinson. Here’s my takeaway from the event:

Partners + Prevention was held at The Apollo in Springdale, what used to be an old theater has recently been beautifully renovated. I got to the event early so I could get the chance to look around and get a feel for the venue before too many people got there. As I walked around the room the first thing I noticed (besides the food), were the colorful centerpieces on the tables. Each table was adorned with a painted handprint of a child. I’ve been to the Children’s Safety Center before, so I was no stranger to these handprints. I knew that each handprint was the handprint of a child who had gone through the center. I also knew that the hundreds or so handprints around the room were but few among the thousands that cover every inch of walls in the Children’s Safety Center. As I drew closer to the handprints I noticed the tiny placards attached to centerpieces. The placards included the name and age of the child whose hand the print belonged to. Sydney age 4, Preston age 9, Joslyn 13, Joshua 4 months … one handprint in particular drew my eye. It was the handprint of Charlie age 5, and included with it was a quote from Charlie as he talked about where he wanted his handprint to be placed in the Children’s Safety Center.

“I want to put my handprint by the door, so you can give me a high-five every day and say, “Good morning Charlie!”

By the time I had made my rounds circling the room, guests had begun filing in. Parents, children, police officers, First Lady Susan Hutchinson, Eric Pianalto the CEO of Mercy hospital, Garrett Lewis of KSFM-TV … I took it as a sign I should find my seat.

Once everyone had found their seat, First Lady Susan Hutchinson stood up to give the opening speech. A former teacher herself, Mrs. Hutchinson stressed how important it is that we protect our children. Mrs. Hutchinson works closely with the Children’s Safety Center and other like it and travels to educate others on the work and importance of the all the advocacy centers in the state. It was quite obvious from her speech, how much not only time, but heart, she had vested into the protection and awareness of child abuse. After she spoke I felt comforted and proud that she is among the leading women in Arkansas.

After the First Lady spoke, awards were given to partners of the Children’s Safety Center: Johnson & Johnson, Sam’s Club, and Stephanie Graham with Washington County DCFS, all of whom had taken time out of their lives to come and support a cause they believed strongly in.

The final speaker of the event was Garrett Lewis. You may know him as the chief meteorologist of KSFM – TV but few could guess the reason he was there to speak. With unbelievable poise and tact, Mr. Lewis told us his story of being sexually abused as a child. Mr. Lewis spoke so well and with so much strength and ease that I (among others I’m sure), wondered how he was able to tell his story so effortlessly – a story that brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. As if reading our thoughts, Mr. Lewis explained that he has told his story so many times that he often forgets how hard it is to tell. With time and practice, his story has become easier to tell, not easy, but easier. He explained that the reason he believes he is okay, mentally and emotionally, is because he was able to get the proper care and counseling as a child. He expressed his gratitude for his mother who was able to pay for the help he needed, but he recognized that there are many other victims that are not so lucky. The counseling and care that he credited as his saving grace, are the very things the Children’s Safety Center provides for free. He then told us that he was abused when he was in kindergarten, the same age his son is now. He told us that it’s become harder as an adult because he sees himself in his child and that he never wants his son to have to go through what he went through. Upon saying those words Mr. Lewis gave the first and only indication of just how hard his story was to tell.

Mr. Lewis ended his speech so perfectly that the only way I knew how to properly capture it was to simply use his direct words. He ended by saying, “You never really live until you know what you’d die for … Child abuse is a topic no one wants to talk, but we should talk about it and be open about it. I tell my story because I know that if I can tell my story, that maybe they can tell their story too.”

Despite the sadness and emotion that surrounds the topic of child abuse, Mr. Lewis’ speech still rang of the same feeling I got when reading the quotes by the children who had gone through the center. Hope. Our county is among the leading two counties in child abuse cases. This April is child abuse prevention month and it’s never too late to give. Regardless of what you give, your donations give voice to children who can’t speak. You give them hope and invest in children and their future. If you can’t take my word for it, then perhaps take the word of First Lady Susan Hutchinson who I had the chance to talk to after the event:

What drew you to the Children’s Safety Center? Why do you think it’s so important for children?

My mom and dad had difficult childhoods. It didn’t have anything to do with child abuse but there were different tragedies and it impacted them and shaped them. My mom always taught me how important children were and the lord certainly teaches us that in his word. And then as a soccer mom, with a big strapping 14-year-old soccer player and hanging out with another soccer mom, one day she confided in me that her dad was a pedophile. That was the first time that I saw normal people doing such things. There was so much pain in her life and in her sisters’ lives and she told me that as a child she would pray to the lord that he would die so her mom would marry a nice man. Her prayers didn’t get answered that way but that’s how sincere the children’s’ prayers were for help. They are desperate, and they need our help and they are crying out to god and we are his answer. So, we have to be ready, and prepared, and on the alert and help those children be in a safe place. We need to help these children know that they were never let to live a nightmare, they were meant to have sweet dreams and blossom, and grow, and trust, and love, and happy, and giving, and strong, and get their education and find out if they’re an artist or a scientist or a horse back rider or whatever. We don’t need this man-made trauma disrupting the person they were meant to be or the life they were meant to live. There’s many adults, in prison today in Arkansas that this was in their past and it was a huge stumbling block for them in their development. Life spans are shortened by as much as 20 years, different health problems develop over the years beside the dysfunction that can happen and the sleepless nights as a grown 40-year-old woman … I met a lady like that. But finding someone you can trust to talk and for them to believe you… for them to find adults that do believe and love them anyway and help them get rid of the nightmares … it can be an amazing world when we listen.

Mollie Bond

University of Arkansas – Kappa Delta Sorority

 


#SupporterSaturday with Slim Chickens

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. All across Northwest Arkansas you will see signs and pinwheels displayed to raise awareness of child abuse happening in our community and ways to help like calling the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline number, 844-SAVE-A-CHILD, if you suspect abuse.

 

One place you will see this awareness is at every Slim Chickens location in Northwest Arkansas. Aspen Grams, NWA Marketing Manager for Slim Chickens, elaborates on this wonderful partnership.

 

How are you partnering with the Children’s Safety Center for Child Abuse Prevention Month? 

All April long, Slim Chickens is hosting a round up campaign in our restaurants. When a guest eats at any of our NWA locations, they can choose to round up their order total to the next whole dollar amount, and the change will be donated to the Children’s Safety Center.

 

Why is it important to spread the mission of the CSC to the community?

The children who walk through their doors could be our family members, friends, neighbors, or patrons of our restaurants. Spreading the word that this organization is on hand and able to help in a crisis can positively impact a child in our community when they need it most.

 

Fun fact about Slim Chickens that people might not know?

Slim Chickens was founded in Fayetteville, AR 15 years ago, and we’ve grown to be in 14 states and three countries. All of our success can be traced back to our amazing base of supporters in NWA, and we are eternally grateful for the opportunity to share meals with the people who make this region of the state great.

 

So eat at Slim Chickens, enjoy their amazing food and to give back to the Children’s Safety Center at the same time!

 

 

 


#FridayReads – Kids Helping Kids

Last April, Katie Radewald, a teacher at Fayetteville High School and a member of the Junior League of NWA, emailed me to ask about a service learning project that her English As A Second Language class could do for the Children’s Safety Center. She explained that in March she had told the class about the CSC and the work we do. They had also been discussing abuse and trafficking and thought this would be a great cause to do a project for. The class decided to raise funds for the CSC by soliciting friends, family members, and neighbors for donations. They also included raising awareness by displaying a banner at the high school with the child abuse hotline number on it as well as pinwheels for April.

Not only did the class collectively raise almost $1,000, but the students also gained self-confidence and a sense of community and belonging. Much of Ms. Radewald’s class is made up of students that are new to the United States. This project was a way for them to help a local cause and also feel like they themselves belonged. And since it was a project for English, they had to write a short essay describing their experience and why service learning is important. The students were very reflective and not only did they learn about helping their community, they learned a lot about themselves!

I asked Ms. Radewald to send me some of the student’s essays.

Here are some amazing and inspiring things the students accomplished and learned:

Student 1: “Service learning brings people closer, that everyone care and understand each others. It can help reduce inequality and isolation in the community. It helps motivate students stay in class, develop critical thinking, problem solving, gain skills with ability to work as a team, and leadership. I had a chance to solicit the donation for the Children’s Safety Center to help the children from abuse. I felt so proud of myself and more confident. I have learned how to explain to people about what I am trying to do more clearly, such as speaking slowly, giving specific purposes, and telling as a politely way.”

Student 2: “I am so happy I can become a member of helping Children’s Safety Center. At first I was so nervous because I never do this before. My first time when I ask people to donate money I was so nervous that I can’t speak fluently. But that person was friendly and I got donation from him. I was happy that I did it! After that I did better and better. Didn’t feel nervous as the beginning, but still kind of shy. The most important thing that is I did something good for those children who need help. I was so proud of that. So I hope everyone can do something for someone in trouble, so that we can have a better world.”

Student 3: “Being a part of something that helped the Children’s Safety Center is my bless. This is such a good opportunity for me to have a new experience in gathering donation. I felt so proud of myself while I’m doing this. I was chilling when Ms. Rad talked about this project, I was imagining how it looks like, I couldn’t breath anymore and couldn’t wait to doing this. Every time I read the introduction about the Children’s Safety Center for the people who I’m asking for donation, it makes me feel I’m a part of it, a small piece in a big puzzle.”

I literally teared up reading about how brave and proud these students were during this project. Most of the people the students asked said no and some were even down right rude. But these kids persevered and continued thinking about the abused children seen at our center and knew they had to help them. I was shocked and so excited when Katie told me the grand total. These students are simply AMAZING and we are so lucky to have them in our community!!!!

Emily Rappe’ Fisher – CSC Development Director

 


Honoring a True Ordinary Hero – Karen Blackstone

Twenty Years in the Making

by Elizabeth Shackelford

I do not even know where to begin when talking about Karen Blackstone, who will celebrate 20 years with the Children’s Safety Center on Sept. 1st. How is it possible? I cannot even wrap my head around how many young lives she has been a part of: as a volunteer, an intern, a child advocate and, for the last 16 years, the CSC’s full-time forensic interviewer (she has conducted more than 4,000 interviews). For 20 years, thousands of children have put their trust in her. Children and families have relied on her for support as a child advocate. Children have shared their deepest, darkest traumatic experiences with her as a forensic interviewer.

As we celebrate Karen this week, I know she wants us to also celebrate the children who have received support and healed from their abuse. I know she wants us to stop at the end of the day and take away something we learned or experienced along the way. As I write this I can even hear her saying, “What was the takeaway you learned, Elizabeth?”

Like the saying goes, “To know Karen is to love Karen.” It is evident not just from the families she helped over the years but also from all the professional colleagues she worked with. Following are a few comments and notes from individuals who have known and worked with Karen:

Karen is a very humble, helpful, and loyal person, a true inspiration. ~ Dan Prier, CSC Board Member

Karen – How fortunate we are that you are still a part of the CSC and without any loss of enthusiasm or commitment after twenty years. I have relied on your insight and wisdom, your stability and leadership, and your humility and character since day number one. You’ve welcomed my questions, been an excellent listener, and always been thoughtful and genuine in your comments. I trust your judgment because I know that when you give an answer, you’ve considered it first. Thank you for your investment in children, in our community, and in bringing professionals and agencies together to make us better. So many have reaped the benefits of your hard work. Kudos to you! And here’s to another 20!! ~ Dana Scott, Victim Assistance Program Director, Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Karen is a true servant to children. Her dedication over the years and the excellent work she has provided the center and our community is immeasurable. Karen is a true advocate and warrior for the children who have been victims of abuse. It is an honor to be a small part of what she does daily. ~ Chris Thornton, CSC Board President

Karen, it’s your day to celebrate! Congratulations on 20 years with the CSC. Your tireless efforts to better protect the children of NWA should be celebrated! You have made an incredible difference in the lives of abused children and it has been a honor to walk along side of you in this journey. Thank you for all you have done!  ~ Rita Farrell, Forensic Interview Specialist, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center

I began working with Karen Blackstone approximately two years ago. I had recently been assigned crimes against persons and had been told Karen was a great person to bounce ideas off of as well as go to her as a mentor. I watched Karen’s zeal for helping children, families and law enforcement and I knew I had been given great advice to speak with Karen when I was lost or confused about circumstances with a forensic interview. Karen has provided me with multiple resources to continue in my growth as an investigator. Karen has been a great co-worker, mentor, trainer, servant and I am most proud to consider her my friend. Karen’s hard work through the CSC and MDT has not only helped me be a better investigator, she has helped more families and victims than can be measured. I know Karen has taught hundreds of law enforcement investigators over her twenty years; those investigators have reached out and taught thousands of cadets and rookie officers the importance of putting the child first in all that they do. Thank you Karen for your passion, years of service, and your friendship! Congratulations on twenty years serving victims and their families of heinous crimes. ~ Det. Kyle Naish, Springdale Police Department

Karen is quick to give others credit for the strength of the CSC team, but she has helped develop the Children’s Safety Center and the team into who we are today. Karen has been the constant for 20 years who has steered the team in the right direction, through all the many changes and staff members coming and going, making sure the team is always following best practices, proper policies and procedures, and always looking out for the best interest of the child however difficult the days may be.

Thanks for encouraging the team, listening for and identifying important issues, and for coming up with solutions. Thanks for being YOU! We all respect you and we all congratulate you on 20 years of serving others.


Dream Big Gala Chair Spotlight w. Sarah White

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I was first involved with the Dream Big Charity Gala 4 years ago, and served on the fundraising and marketing committee.

How did you become involved?  When I first toured the CSC with my Leadership Fayetteville class. They asked for volunteers and I raised my hand that day. I was worried they were full and I was too late! Haha! Luckily, they took me and have put up with me ever since!

What is your favorite gala memory? Oh gosh! I have so many. Chairing for two years has been really special, but my favorite memory is calling Emily a day or two after and hearing how much money we raised for the center. All that hard work pays off!

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong?  Let’s see, it would have to be running out of things, hot gluing decorations, the year when I loaded champagne from the loading dock and saw the chiropractor that next Monday. Holy neck! The best is when I had to run to Petco to buy fish! Pretty sure that purchase is still on my pals rewards card. There is always something that goes awry the day or night of. It’s part of the mystique.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? This is the CSCs signature fundraiser. They count on this gala for not only awareness, but also for funding. In order to guarantee that the center is equipped to serve our community, it’s vital that people come out, open their wallets, and support an organization that is imperative to Northwest Arkansas.

How important is the CSC to our community? The center helps hundreds of kids every year, and is represented by the thousands of handprints covering their walls. It’s these handprints that represent all of the amazing, vital work that the center does for the children of our community from forensic interviews, medical examinations, advocacy, and therapy free of charge. The center helps families get back to their normal after tragedy, and helps kids get back to finding their happy.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? The 10th year is going to be bomb and sure to impress! We’ve worked so hard to give you a night of enchantment, whimsy, and fun while supporting a worthy cause. We’ve got everything food, libations, and plenty of entertainment, including NWA’s own Boom Kinetic. Additionally, the event hosts a wine and cigar pull, fabulous silent and live auction, stilt walkers, silk aerialists, and a tarot reader to boot. Come one, come all and help support the CSC!

2017 Dream Big Charity Gala Co-Chair, Sarah White – Saatchi & Saatchi X


Dream Big Gala Chair Spotlight w. Kara Dearien

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I attended my first committee meeting in April of 2016. I was new to CSC and new to Dream Big.

How did you become involved? A friend, Brandy Lackey, who was on the Dream Big committee asked me to be a part of the organization.  She convinced me to dive in head first and join the committee before even attending an event.

What is your favorite gala memory? Definitely the photo booth pictures…they always bring out the kid in everyone. It’s such a fun night, I have too many favorite memories.

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? So far it’s been an amazing night…no funny stories…yet.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? The CSC is able to do amazing things on a small budget and very little grant money. The growth and success of the gala directly impacts the CSC and the amount of help they are able to provide the community. I want to see it be as successful as possible to help as many as we can.

How important is the CSC to our community? The CSC provides services and support to families and children in a terrible position. Without this support, these children would never feel safe or receive therapy, medical attention and the unconditional support they need to get through a trying time in their lives.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? It’s for the children!

2017 Dream Big Gala Event Co-Chair, Kara Dearien – Walmart


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight w. Matt Bumgarner

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I started working on the committee back in 2013 with the Marketing Committee. It was such a great group, and we primarily were helping spread the word about the event and also the importance of the Children’s Safety Center.

How did you become involved? I attended the gala in 2012 thanks to an invite from my friend Ben Cowell, and after hearing info on the CSC that night, I knew I wanted to help!! I went on a tour of the CSC a few months later with the Leadership Fayetteville group and after asking questions that day found my way to the committee.

What is your favorite gala memory? Without a doubt, every year that I have been a part of the gala the best moment happens the day of the event. Everyone meets up in an empty room at the Fayetteville Town Center, and over the course of several hours, you watch an amazing transformation take place. What was once empty space is filled with lights, tables, decorations, dance floors and that all happens with the selfless service of amazing committee members!!

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? Dream Big is such a fantastic gala for a great cause I can honestly say that I have never had an experience that you could classify as the worst memory. One year at the event, we had an alcohol vendor show up, and the kegs they brought did not match the equipment provided by the venue. So in full panic mode, as the event is kicking off and people are coming into the event, we worked through this and improvised some stuff to make the kegs work. These type of moments happen all the time, and with so many great volunteers running around the guests never even notice but anytime you play MacGyver in a suit, it is certainly something that will cause a laugh.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? The importance of the event growing each year is twofold. The first part is that the money raised from this one night goes a long way to providing services for children in Washington County who are victims of abuse. The second part is education about what the Children’s Safety Center offers Washington County and the epidemic of abuse happening in our backyard. I think about my first year attending the event and not even knowing the CSC existed, then fast forward to years later, and I cannot imagine where we would be without it.

How important is the CSC to our community? Anytime I get the chance to talk about the CSC my message remains the same. I one day hope there is no reason to have this center because that means we will have found a way to solve the child abuse issue. The reality is that every year the number of cases seems to increase which means we have to continue to find ways to raise more money since the organization is purely a non-profit organization. The CSC is vital to our community because it helps children that live right here in Washington County, all of the money raised for the CSC stays right here in our community and helps out children in our county!!!

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? This is truly the “Greatest Gala of the Summer” and the money stays to help out in our community. I can promise you that if you attend once, then you will definitely want to attend again. Dream Big is a fun filled night that helps out for a very real cause right here in our community.

Purchase tickets HERE

Matt Bumgarner with Mayor Jordan and Jamie Davis


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight w. Theresa Harrell

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I have been attending the event since 2007.  It looked a lot different and much smaller then, but the cause spoke to my heart.  The following year, I became more involved and was on the planning committee, and then chaired in 2012 and 2013.

 How did you become involved? I became involved through friends who were chairing the event and needed help, but stayed involved because the cause is so important.

 How long were you involved or are you still currently involved and how? We have moved to Rogers and are less involved than we were in the past, but we still support all the CSC’s events.  The Christmas Train and Dream Big are our favorites!  This year, we collected stuffed animals for the CSC in lieu of gifts for my son’s first birthday.

What is your favorite gala memory? My husband and I chaired together in 2013 and found out that we were pregnant with our first child right before the event.  The work the CSC does took on a whole new meaning knowing that we were about to have our own child to love and protect.

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? Last year, I got caught up in the atmosphere and bid on and won a 12ft Christmas tree.  It barely fits in our house.  My husband was not amused.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? When we chaired, we were excited to raise $40,000.  It is so exciting to see how much the event has grown and the support the community is providing.  As the population in our area grows, an unfortunate side effect is that child abuse grows.  The education and advocacy that the CSC provides is critical to providing a safe future for our children.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? Aside from supporting an amazing cause, the event is a blast!  Boom Kinetic has long been a favorite band of NWA, and I always seem to make it home with a few auction items.

If you had to give three words to describe the Dream Big Gala, what would they be? Inspiring, Community, Fun

Why is the Children’s Safety Center important to YOU? The CSC makes the absolute best of a horrible situation.  The people there represent the best of what we all can be.  They see so much hurt, but transform that into hope.

Click HERE for information and tickets to the 2017 Dream Big Charity Gala

2014 Dream Big Gala Co-Chairs Chris & Theresa Harrell, CSC Development Director Emily Rappe’ Fisher and

Gala Co-Chairs Morgan & Dustin Roberts